So we have looked at what ITSM is and the best practice frameworks available to support the implementation of ITSM tools within an IT team. Equally important is how these concepts, processes, and frameworks can support teams outside IT, from HR, Finance, Facilities, and Customer Service, and for internal and external end customers.
We have also discussed how software tools can help with this, but if we look at service management solutions in a bit more detail, there are some common traits to look for.
Supporting Key Service Management Processes
Below are some of the more common and most used processes within the ITSM tools and suite of products. Which ones you need will depend primarily on your team size, business process, and the types of requests logged with your service and support teams.
Whatever tool you choose has to fit your business; yes, ITSM and related frameworks offer best practice guidelines, and there are common processes to ITSM, but these have to fit your business and not your business fitting the frameworks.
Tools must support the key concepts, processes, and frameworks, but they shouldn’t be prescriptive. They should also allow you to scale the use of the tools as your teams’ service management maturity grows and be a fit for your business at all levels.
Most Commonly Adopted Processes
Incidents are when an issue arises for a user that needs to be dealt with. This can take the form of a lost password, an email system issue, or a computer malfunction. Issues are considered incidents if they aren’t yet attributed to a larger problem facing multiple users. Incident management refers to resolving these issues.
If a group of incidents comes in and all end up being a symptom of the same root cause, that cause is considered a problem. Problem management deals with identifying the problem, categorizing them, determining the route cause, and then either resolving them, putting a workaround in place, or in some cases requesting a change (as some problems require complex fixes that might impact the business), and storing information to make them easier to prevent in the future.
Change management is about handling changes to services or products offered to end users. Change requests often link to business assets so that the impact of a change can be assessed and agreed upon by stakeholders. Changes are usually scheduled, and rollback plans are put in place should the change be unsuccessful.
Many physical IT assets make up the structure of a network. Configuration management deals with the configurations of these physical IT assets. Information about each asset’s configuration is stored in the Configuration Management Database (CMDB).
For example, a server might store information about the software products installed on it or the physical architecture of the hardware. A software product might contain information about the license as well as the licensed users of that product. Impact maps that manage asset hierarchy allow a visual representation of the CMDB, allowing change managers to understand the impact of an asset becoming unavailable to the business.
Service Level Management
Service level management is applied when dealing with almost any type of request. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) measures the impact and urgency of an incident, problem, or change, which determines its priority. This prioritizes teams’ workload and ensures that the right tickets are worked on at the right time to resolve the issue within the agreed SLA. It also handles creating SLAs that dictate the expectations between businesses and clients, as SLAs with external customers often differ for each customer.
Data retention is vital to informing future operations, and knowledge management handle the storage and sharing of information to avoid duplicate work, repeated mistakes, or unprepared client interactions.
Other Processes Often Deployed
After determining that a change needs to be made, the change needs to be tested before deployment. Then, when a change is deployed, it should be verified in the system and users should be notified. This is referred to as release management.
In any employee or system, the best ability is availability. Availability management is focused on optimizing IT systems and components to ensure they are available as often as possible. This means outages are minimized, and updates and changes are done outside regular working hours. The use of the CMDB and the impact map is crucial here to understand the impact of non-available assets during a change.
IT services require resources like storage, physical hardware and connectors, and internet bandwidth. Capacity management is focused on maintaining the optimum level of resources, as well as expanding capacity to provide headroom for future needs.
Project management keeps operations orderly, ensuring quality organization and communication throughout many other ITSM tools and functions.
Financial management is another straightforward one, dealing with the finances involved with IT operations and assets.
Empower Your Teams
The tools need to empower your teams. They need to be powerful yet simple and intuitive configurations so that your team is in control and can be up and running quickly, allowing you to focus on what is essential – delivering stellar service to your users in whichever team. It has to be around configuration and not customization to adopt best practices without being beholden to the tool vendor.
It is also important to note that certain tools will offer “out of the box” modules based on frameworks, but these can leave little room to scale and adopt best practices that are right for your business. Remember, the frameworks should fit your business, not your business fitting the framework.
It must allow the streamlining of service operations to increase productivity and accelerate customer response times while supporting your adoption of ITSM concepts, processes, and frameworks. All through a simple and easy-to-use interface.
Elevate The User Experience
The tool must leverage the ability to optimize the service you offer, integrate with other lines of business platforms to deliver maximum, measurable business value.
For more than two decades, Vivantio. has been helping clients optimize their service organizations by leveraging a uniﬁed service management platform. To find out how Vivantio can help you implement ITSM tools, contact our team today or register for a free demo.